Chelsea may renew bid for Andy Carroll as goal drought continues
West Ham striker a suitable short-term solution before summer recruitment drive
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte: his side endured their third successive goalless draw this weekend. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea’s eagerness to freshen up their forward ranks could prompt a renewed attempt to secure Andy Carroll from West Ham United before the end of the transfer window.
The Premier League champions endured a third successive goalless draw, for the first time in their history, against Leicester City on Saturday with fatigue blunting the players’ form. Álvaro Morata has scored only twice in the top flight since mid-November and has gone five games without a goal, while Eden Hazard, upon whom this side have come to over-rely, has been substituted in each of the past four games he has started.
Antonio Conte has been reluctant to play Michy Batshuayi in the Premier League, the Belgian having started only three times since his £33.2 million (€37.3 million) arrival from Marseille in the summer of 2016, and Chelsea would sanction his loan departure this month for Sevilla if a replacement can be secured. Yet, having missed out on Fernando Llorente as a target man over the summer, they have found their options limited in the market.
Carroll, who joined West Ham from Liverpool in 2013 for £15 million, has seen his impact limited by injury in the years since. His two goals this season came in the victory against West Brom this month, yet Chelsea and Conte can see the merit in the 29-year-old, who would be eligible for the Champions League, adding a different dimension.
That may be a short-term solution before a summer recruitment drive, and West Ham would take some persuasion to part with Carroll on a six-month loan deal. David Moyes suggested last week that he would not want to see any of his forwards depart. Yet that may not dissuade Chelsea from exploring the option, reflecting the need to pep up the forward line amid a cluttered schedule.
Ross Barkley, their sole addition this month, will be in the squad for the FA Cup third-round replay against Norwich City on Wednesday and is expected to make his Chelsea debut from the bench. “Ross is working very well with us on the tactical and physical aspects,” Conte said. “This is a good signing. He is a young player but with great potential.”